City manager: Local tax vote could come as early as March
Des Moines City Manager Scott Sanders said the Des Moines City Council is likely to decide in the next few weeks whether to call for a new referendum on a proposed 1 percent local sales tax.
That tax was approved by voters in Des Moines, West Des Moines and Windsor Heights but won’t go into effect because of a state law requiring local cities to vote as a block. As a group, cities defeated the tax.
The Legislature now has rescinded the vote-as-a-block requirement. That is likely to mean another round of votes, this time city by city.
Sanders said the earliest a revote could be called under the new state law appears to be March 2019.
The tax would raise an estimated $38 million in Des Moines, and by state law half would be used to offset property taxes. Des Moines had planned to reduce the property tax rate by 40 cents per $1,000 taxable valuation if the tax had gone into effect, and West Des Moines planned to reduce its levy by 74 cents. Des Moines also plans to use the money for public safety, street improvements and work in neighborhoods.
The Polk County Board of Supervisors can call for a vote within a city after receiving a motion from a city council or a petition signed by registered voters and equaling 5 percent of the voters in the previous general election.